It happened within a week or so. At the end of six-odd days of cheerily talking to everyone at the cafe, serving up sandwiches, soup, salad and more, it hit me. I had officially seen a side of Panjim I have never encountered in the three years that I have lived here. In fact, I am quite certain that in the last three weeks, I have seen more tight-assed, fancy, Panjim socialites than I have in the last three years.
I had my Lost! moment. Where am I? And more importantly, who are these people, and where have they been for the last three years?
It was then that I had a half-resigned, half-depressed quiet moment with myself, weighed down by the realisation that for all its faux-fancy-pantsiness, the cafe I work in is pretty much an adda. Yes, it has a fancy-ish, Spanish name with a lazy lilt to it, but there’s really no escaping the fact that what it is, is an adda, which, according to my trusted slang dictionary, Samosapedia, is:
A common place where close friends hangout. Its usually close to the college they attend and generally convenient for the rest of the boys to get there. Its usually a bakery, Coffee Day, restaurant or small shops run by frustrated people or nice people.
Have you ever had an adda? I did, some years ago. When I was broke, had no real pocket money to speak of, but had vast amounts of time to waste and nowhere special to be. At times like that an adda is perfect. Because it welcomes you any time of any day. No matter what you’re in the mood for or what you plan to do. Even if you plan to do nothing, your adda is usually the best place to go. When you’re feeling mindless, need a quiet corner in which to sulk, throw a tantrum with a boy, or generally be boisterous with others in your clique. Its where you can huddle around a small table, drag one too many chairs along and create a crowd that nobody can get past. And you know what was the best part? You don’t have to care.
Your adda accepts you just the way you are. And that is exactly how the cafe accepts this new strata of society I have suddenly been exposed to.
With their almost-Birkins, their flowy patterned dresses, their expensive Hercules sandals and what not. Don’t even get me started on the men and their moccasins with tassles. Yes, I’m aware this is becoming a superficial statement on their attire and appearances, but after 3 weeks of seeing the same bunch of faces hanging out with the same bunch of faces every day of the week, in the same place, spending vast amounts of money on overpriced brunch stuff, I am tempted to believe that like me, back in college, maybe some of these folks have no place special to be, nothing of consequence to do, and nothing compelling to really do with themselves.
I guess I am nobody to judge what they do with their time and money. But it made me wonder, if I could go back to my adda days, today, would I choose to hob-nob with the same faces? Everyday? Dress up and pretty my face up for lunch, Every.Single.Day?
I’m really not sure. So yes, the cafe. Is an adda. And while I make sense of the intricacies of the relationships and equations in this new sect of society I suddenly find myself having to air-kiss and polite-talk with, I will continue to tag them as WhiteGrumpyMan and PregnantWoman and WomanWithTooMuchMakeUp and EverydayCouple and RichBrattyGirl in my little book of orders. Because that’s the only way I can tell one from the other.